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Trash to Treasure

2021 Competition entry

Mamello Morake

Charcoal on paper
39 x 57 cm
R60 000


This art piece is actually created using mixed meda but mostly charcoal. The artist used pencil for finer and lighter areas, mainly being the houses, fencing and other details in the background – the light background contrasts with the subject as this draws the eye to the subject (the boys and kart) because it’s dark. She then used fine-liners to outline the bold charcoal areas (edges of the shadows) to create a clean finish and white paint for the flowers behind. This piece was experimental; she used mixed media for the first time and was nervous about how well the media will mix.

The inspiration behind creating this art piece arose in her home town, Bethlehem, when she serendipitously drove past four young boys, having the time of their lives using something with which we disperse trash. She got intrigued by the kind of “kart” with which they pushed each other. Their cheerfulness was heart-warming, sadly she couldn’t capture that moment; by the time she took her camera out she had disturbed them, nonetheless a photo of them was still worth taking because everything about these kids and their innovation is rare and underrated – it is treasure.

In her experience of working with children abroad in a first world country as an au pair, she has never seen them as content as the four boys she saw with that trash kart; this reminded her of how this is what separates people of her ommunity from the rich – the gift of being able to work with what they have and being content with it.  This contentment is also rare for many of us, especially in this stressful and confusing time (pandemic-wise). One can only wish this contentment was as contagious as Covid-19.